For senior Krith Patel ’22, a myriad of experiences such as study abroad in China, Business Administration courses at NC State, and coursework in Biological Sciences all contributed to his shifting focus from attending medical school, to now pursuing a master’s degree in Healthcare Administration. Deeply passionate about making sustainable impacts on underserved communities, Krith uncovered the niche of healthcare operations and research, and hopes to bring positive change to that sector of the healthcare world. Read our latest Goodnight Scholars Spotlight to learn where Krith will be attending graduate school, his perspective on being a first generation college student, and his favorite memories from the past 4 years.
Goodnight Scholars Program: Tell us about yourself!
What’s up everyone! My name is Krith Patel, and I am a senior majoring in Biological Science with minors in Business Administration and Nutrition. I am from Gastonia, North Carolina, a town next to Charlotte. A few of my hobbies include working out, running, playing basketball and football, reading, and watching a variety of movies.
Was there a driving force or some factor that led you to pursue a major in Biological Sciences? How has your interest in Biological Sciences evolved over your 4 years at NC State? What has been more intriguing to you about the area of study?
The main force was the thought, as I entered my freshman year, that I would pursue medical school and become a type of doctor. However, it was during my freshman year when I realized that I did not want to pursue a career as a doctor. I believe I could have handled the rigorous course load and challenging curriculum of medical school, but I really did not have the passion for wanting to become a doctor and the lifestyle that came with it. Despite realizing I did not want to be a doctor, I still pursued a Biological Sciences major because I knew I still wanted to pursue a career in health and medicine as I really could not see myself enjoying any other field. It was actually my business administration minor and the business classes I took in China and at NC State that really made me realize I wanted to dive into the business world and become involved in management or operations. This is where I figured out I could combine my love for biology and health with business and pursue a career in healthcare administration or clinical operations. I also realized that I could have the potential to be a leader and make a lasting impact for a community. My interest in biological sciences has still remained the same, and I love it! I love seeing how organisms are connected with the natural environment, and find even difficult courses such as organic chemistry and biochemistry fascinating because of their real world applications. I love learning new facts each time I step into the classroom, thinking how useful this little fact could be in the future! Just the other day, I found out bananas were classified as a berry! Crazy, right? The most intriguing concept to me was how many relationships humans have with different organisms and the environment. If we affect one aspect of nature then there is a domino effect that will eventually affect us. It’s a little scary to think, but it shows how we must take care of the environment and even each other. I also found the adaptability of organisms and nature very fascinating. In Jurassic Park, Dr. Malcolm said, “Life, uh, finds a way”, and this could not be more true as I learned ways organisms and people have adapted throughout centuries to thrive and prosper.
Can you tell us about your study/travel abroad experience? Where did you go and what did you experience while abroad? Any advice to a student who might be interested in following in your footsteps?
Studying abroad in Shanghai, China for operations and human resources management was one of the best experiences I have had at NC State. Honestly, I would tell any college student that if they had the opportunity and finances to study abroad, they absolutely should, even if they are hesitant but still curious. Let me just say, I was nervous about going to China all the way until I got on that plane. I mean it’s China, a place vastly different from the United States in terms of people, culture, history, ideals, and food. The country was also a mystery as people don’t often go there, which is why I actually wanted to see for myself what it was like. That nervousness literally disappeared after the first couple days. The classes were great as I learned subjects completely different from what I usually learn in my major’s class, and I got to see real world applications to operations and human resources when we did corporate visits. The group of students I studied abroad with was the real reason why the experience was so great. We all had great chemistry with each other, helped each other with classwork, and explored all parts of Shanghai. One of the most memorable parts was how we all were treated like celebrities when we were there. I mean, to start off, we were staying at a lavish Marriott for a study abroad, so already we felt like celebrities right off the bat! People also would ask for photos with us, and we constantly would be followed by the locals when we toured areas of Shanghai. The best part was the nightlife of Shanghai! We would get private tables, exclusive access to services, and the opportunity to interact with young people from all over the world! I got to try new and bizarre foods, meet very friendly locals everywhere I went, and I got to see the differences between Western and Eastern culture. While in Shanghai, I went to Disneyland, the Shanghai Tower, and the Shanghai Aquarium. I also went to Beijing, exploring the Forbidden City and climbing the Great Wall of China. I even got the chance to meet up with three other Goodnights (Ben M, Ben C, and Dominic) who also were studying abroad at the time! Ultimately, traveling abroad to China really gave me the confidence of knowing I could handle and thrive being in a different foreign environment.
Reflecting back on the last 4 years at NC State, what has been the most fulfilling part? What will you take away from your time at NC State that you will never forget, and what is an experience that you can’t miss before graduating from NC State?
I truly believe that the only reason my experience at NC was an impactful and positive one is because of all the friends I made here and the people I have connected with. College is where you truly figure yourself out as a person, and you have the ability to surround yourself with people you prefer and desire. Your friends can bring out the best of you and challenge you, and my friends did exactly that. It all started with the friends I made in the Goodnight Scholars. They really helped my freshman year go off to a great start. I attended many Goodnight social events with them such as the state fair, opera, and haunted forest, and all of them were unforgettable experiences. I was able to play basketball and football with all of my friends and get better each time I played with them. I also attended many sporting events such as the football, basketball, and volleyball games with all my friends, and storming the court when we beat Duke will forever be one of the top memories of my life. One takeaway was how impactful the Goodnight Scholars Program was to my experience at NC State. Of course I made great friends and connections while being a part of the program, but I also was able to travel to different parts of the world and make an impact in developing communities through volunteering. Participating in intramural sports was one experience that I could not miss. I wanted to compete against skilled and competitive individuals, and I got to do just that with my friends!
After graduation, you are heading to Charlotte to continue your educational journey! Can you explain where you will be attending graduate school, why you decided on graduate school, and what you are most looking forward to?
I am attending the University of North Carolina at Charlotte to obtain a Master’s in Healthcare Administration. I knew I wanted to pursue graduate school because the career path I chose essentially requires it. I want to be a healthcare professional and leader within a healthcare system and provide the best access to services and products to a community, so with a healthcare administration degree I will learn ways to do just that and gain the leadership skills I need to drive change. I am really looking forward to exploring the city of Charlotte and seeing how the healthcare system is integrated into the city. I want to work in the healthcare system at Charlotte and see the operations and research that goes into making a sustainable impact in an underprivileged community. I am really looking forward to making many more friends and gaining connections to make my time at Charlotte just as memorable as my time at NC State!
Being a first-generation college student, what were some of the biggest challenges you faced, and how did you overcome them? What is your advice to a potential Goodnight Scholar or NC State student who is also going to be a first-generation college student?
The big challenge I faced was just wondering what college was like and what to expect when I got there. The knowledge of college I had was from movies, and we all know how accurate those are. I honestly felt like an explorer, venturing out into the unknown not knowing what I would come across. I was nervous, but very excited to get out of a small town and explore a big school like NC State. I was motivated to learn all I could about what college life could offer and what opportunities awaited me at NC State, so I could tell my family, especially my younger sister, what college was like. Honestly, I did not know the significance of being a “first-generation college student” or how much of an accomplishment it was to be the first in your family to go to college. I knew college was the only option for a person like me who came from a rural town and low socioeconomic class to accomplish my dreams and provide the best support for my family who sacrificed so much to help me become the person I am today. Seeing the hardships my parents went through to just provide enough for me and my sister was the only motivation I needed to know I had to persevere through college no matter what challenges would come my way. I never really had imposter syndrome, which many first-generation students face, since I really didn’t even know what it was, and I always believed I belonged at NC State. Having great and supportive friends along with a confident mindset really helped me overcome any doubts I had that I did not deserve to be at NC State or be a Goodnight Scholar. I learned to have tunnel vision and focus on myself and not look around and compare myself to others, and I learned to adapt and find ways to improve myself at college, which slowly raised my confidence. If I did not perform well on an assignment or exam, instead of being down, I was hungry to improve and see why I made certain mistakes. Treating myself after every small victory I had also boosted my confidence. You’ll be really surprised how much physical activity can also boost your confidence, I mean, you feel like you can do anything after you win a basketball game or go on a three mile run! My advice to first generation college students is to first obtain tunnel vision. It may be hard at first, but focusing on just yourself and not comparing yourself to others goes a long way in your success in college. When you get a bad grade on an exam, don’t look around or ask what other student’s got on their exams. Just head home and get motivated to learn from your mistakes and improve. I would also recommend being physically active! There are so many benefits to your body and mind that come with physical activity, and the best part is the gym is “free”! There is a reason why athletes are people with some of the highest levels of confidence. Having confidence feels like you can accomplish anything and perform at your best when the stakes are high. The last advice I would give is to just relax! Grades aren’t everything and employers look for more than what you got on your last Orgo test. It is important to be realistic about what you want to achieve, and it’s also important to have fun and try things you never had the chance to do at home. Do not just focus on school, but also focus on yourself and having fun with the friends you made. Many people do not get the chance to go to college, so enjoy it as much as possible!
What have been your favorite parts of being in the Goodnight Scholars Program? Can you share with us some of your favorite memories and what you will always remember about the last 4 years in the program.
One of my favorite parts of the program were the socials. The haunted forest, the State Fair, opera, archery, and Lake Johnson kayaking were some of my favorites, and they were activities and events I never got to experience back at home. I really won’t forget the senior retreat to Savannah as it was fun to hang out with my cohort and explore the city of Savannah. The cemetery tour was actually really cool and interesting, and I felt like I was in National Treasure investigating eerie mysteries. The reflections really made me appreciate and be grateful for what all the program and scholarship have done for me, and it was truly during the reflections where I realized I had done so many things while at NC State that other students don’t normally get to do. It was truly a humbling experience. I will remember the Bye-Week Tailgate and throwing the football around with other scholars. I will remember playing intramural basketball with Jonathan and Ben and seeing our teamwork help us get wins. I also will remember the Goodnight Galas and being amazed and in awe of just how awesome some of the scholars were in our program. The saying of the Goodnight Scholars Program, “pay it forward”, will forever be ingrained in me as I have seen how important it is to help the next generation and invest in people that you believe can make an impact or deserve a chance to truly accomplish their dreams. The program has helped me live out my dreams and reach a position where I can potentially make an impact in society, so I plan to continue to “pay it forward” for others any way I can when I become successful.